American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 120

Tami Reiker, ASC

When you were a child, what film made the strongest impression on you?
When I was 8 I saw Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and I
loved the feeling of being swept away, feeling like I was really living
in Charlie's world. I mean, who wouldn't want to fall into a
chocolate river?

What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
When Lisa Cholodenko invited me into the editing room and I saw
High Art for the first time. It was exciting to feel like the vision we'd
spent months discussing was up there on the screen.
Have you made any memorable
blunders?
Sitting in a picture car, I forgot that
the actors' mics were on, and everyone on the process trailer could hear
me talking. You only make that
mistake once.

Which cinematographers, past or
present, do you most admire?
Harris Savides [ASC], Anthony Dod
Mantle [ASC, BSC, DFF], Christopher
Doyle [HKSC]. They seem like they're
always pushing the envelope, and I'm
always excited to see their movies.
What sparked your interest in
photography?
From an early age I wanted to be a
painter. Luckily, my parents immediately discerned I had absolutely no
talent for painting and put a Canon
SLR in my hands. That started my lifelong love of photography.
Where did you train and/or study?
New York University.
Who were your early teachers or mentors?
I had no specific mentors, but I was lucky to assist many great cinematographers. I used to keep a notebook in the darkroom, and
during breaks I'd run in and copy down their lighting diagrams [and
their] choices of filters and film stocks.
What are some of your key artistic influences?
John Cassavetes, Lars von Trier, Jean Paul Gaultier, Sarah Burton,
Henry Darger, Andy Goldsworthy, Donald Judd, Helen Levitt, Emmet
Gowin, Jack Pierson, Nan Goldin. A couple of films I always go back
to are Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique and Lynne
Ramsay's Ratcatcher.
How did you get your first break in the business?
After college I worked for a private detective. Our job was to tail
victims of medical malpractice suits. He drove and I hid in the backseat with a loaded 16mm Éclair camera to see if we could film someone carrying groceries with that 'broken arm.' From that, I saved up
enough money to buy my own 16mm camera package, and I started
shooting low-budget features, music videos and documentaries.

120

April 2015

What is the best professional
advice you've ever received?
Pick your battles, and never eat the
fish.
What recent books, films or
artworks have inspired you?
Ben Richardson's work on Beasts of
the Southern Wild was so raw and so beautiful. I love the look that
Hoyte van Hoytema [FSF, NSC] created for Spike Jonze's film Her.
Also, Mary Weatherford's paintings and a great memoir called The
Removers by Andrew Meredith.
Do you have any favorite genres or genres you would like to
try?
Who doesn't want to shoot a Western?
If you weren't a cinematographer, what might you be doing
instead?
I'd be a photojournalist or an organic farmer in Maine.
Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for
membership?
Emmanuel Lubezki, Jeff Cronenweth and Francis Kenny
How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
The great thing about the Clubhouse is that you get to meet some
of the incredible legends of filmmaking - people you've
worshipped from afar for years - and, at the same time, catch up
with old friends.
●

American Cinematographer

Photo courtesy of Relativity Media.

Close-up



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - April 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Intro
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 4
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I3
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover4
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